Wednesday, February 14, 2001
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Posted on: Wednesday, February 14, 2001

Hollywood writers extend talks

By Anthony Breznican
AP Entertainment Writer

LOS ANGELES — Hollywood writers and producers have entered a fourth week of contract negotiations in an early bargaining session designed to avoid a potential walkout this spring.

The Writers Guild of America originally intended to end the talks after two weeks, but they were extended Monday.

The current contract for the guild's 11,000 members expires May 2. The Screen Actors Guild contract ends two months later, prompting concerns about potential back-to-back strikes that could delay the fall TV season and reduce the number of movies produced.

If the Writers Guild ends the negotiations, which began Jan. 22, its representatives have said they would not resume discussions with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers until early April.

The sessions will continue on a day-by-day basis, said guild spokeswoman Cheryl Rhoden. Both organizations have declined to comment on any progress so far.

A writers' strike in 1988 lasted 22 weeks and delayed that year's fall TV season.

The first two weeks of the current talks focused on demands for increased residual payments to writers. Writers also want an end to the "A Film By ...'' credit traditionally taken by directors. The producers say that's a matter to be worked out with the Directors Guild of America.

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